Live-action Escape Rooms are video games come to life! Spend 60 minutes locked in a room racing against the clock to escape!
You never forget your first time in an escape room experience. The pure excitement and adrenaline rush of trying to solve a mystery or escape from a “dangerous situation” is all most people need to be hooked on the hottest new family entertainment obsession sweeping the nation.
Escape Room games are challenges where teams of 2-10 players are placed in a room and have to “escape” the room within a given time limit, usually 60 minutes. The games have a mission, goal or objective that players have to solve by figuring out clues, riddles, puzzles and mysteries.
Escape room games challenge players to take on a role and use their collective wits to defeat a mad scientist, defuse a bomb, or solve mysteries. Escape room themes span the universe of subjects from historical, to science fiction and every subject in between.
Many escape rooms incorporate very advanced electronics and engineering that immerse players into alien environments, Mayan temples, space station or thousands of other scenes. “Transporting our players into a real-life video game environment is the greatest challenge we have as escape room designers,” said Candace Vinciguerra, Operations Manager of Cracked it! Escape Games in Jacksonville, North Carolina. “We want our guests to believe that they have stepped out of their time and place and into somewhere totally different.” Ms. Vinciguerra continued.
“Escape room games are great family activities because they encourage the 4 C’s of 21st-century learning among players. The 4 C’s are Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and Critical Thinking,” Vinciguerra said.
According to a 2010 survey conducted by the American Management Association, “an overwhelming number of respondents believe that these 21st-century skills are important to their organizations today and will become even more important in the future.”
During an escape room game, there may be other players whom you don’t know in your group. Forming a team quickly (even with strangers) and communication with the entire team is essential to succeeding in an escape room.
Escape room games encourage collaboration through gameplay. As players encounter problems and challenges they contribute ideas and solutions and work together as a team to accomplish the goal of the game. Brainstorming solutions is key to many puzzles in the escape room.
Most escape room games have puzzles and challenges that require a creative solution. Many challenges require assembling a contraption from various parts to recover a key or press a button that is out of reach. This type of creative problem solving is a core principle of good escape room design. “We have a certain way that we see a puzzle being solved, but we are always amazed when players devise a new and creative solution that we hadn’t thought of,” Ms. Vinciguerra said.
Escape room games test a wide variety of skills. Different elements require observation, object manipulation, deciphering codes and riddles and a whole host of other skills. All of these mini-challenges require strong critical thinking skills to complete the larger or task or win the meta-game. Knowing what an object is is just as important as knowing its greater importance in the overall game.
Brian Vinciguerra is a retired Marine and is the co-founder and chief marketing officer of Cracked it! Escape Games in Jacksonville, North Carolina.